An E-mail Message to Smarthome

I am very disappointed to see that you’ve significantly revised (read: increased) prices on your Insteon products. While you continue to lag in releasing much-anticipated products to the Insteon line (motion detectors, wireless controllers, etc.) and the Insteon technical specification continues to be a moving target, I find it hard to understand how you justify such significant price increases for your products. Specifically, it appears that Insteon switches have increased in price anywhere from 15 to over 100 percent!

SwitchLinc and KeypadLinc devices have leap-frogged inflation costs since Insteon’s introduction, but the real offense is with the devices from your ICON line–your supposed budget Insteon solution. Icon switches now cost as much as SwitchLinc devices cost last year. To be clear, this is more than twice their price just one year ago! How do you explain this?

Adding insult, your tenuously updated Web site continues to advertise that ICON devices are a “fraction of the price” of SwitchLinc devices. For clarity, that fraction is now a whopping 87%. Hmmm…not such a great deal any more, are they?

I really can’t imagine what you’re thinking with this new pricing strategy. While the repricing of ICON devices at SwitchLinc rates tastes quite a lot like bait-and-switch, it’s your continued claims that Insteon is an economical solution to home automation that baffles me.

I’ve invested in Insteon already for my own home, but I have a hard time recommending this solution now as compared to more flexible and comprehensive automation solutions that don’t really cost significantly more for initial adoption. Zigbee and Z-Wave technologies are closing in on SmartLabs solutions with more and more third-party support and adoption. I’d think that if you really wanted to compete with these technologies, you’d get your products to market and realize the advantages that your initial price points once gave you. Sadly, you’ve done neither.


Early adopter, home automator, long-time Smarthome customer, blogger

cc: Dan Craig, CTO, Smartlabs; [this blog]

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